Actress Alyssa Milano recently appeared on The Wendy Williams Show and talked about how she refuses to let anyone convince her that there’s anything wrong with breastfeeding in public, reports the Huffington Post. Milano, 43, found herself in the middle of an argument with Williams, who has a different view on public breastfeeding.
Alyssa Milano is quite comfortable sharing photos of herself breastfeeding her children on social media while also being a strong vocal advocate for nursing mothers and doing so in public. Currently, 49 out of the 50 states in America have passed laws specifically allowing mothers to nurse in public.
The argument against breastfeeding in public
Wendy Williams is not alone in her dislike of mothers nursing in public settings. The disapproval seems to stem from the idea that women’s breasts have become too sexualized. Men’s torsos/breasts are not explicitly sexualized in the same way, therefore making it okay for men to be shirtless in public. Meanwhile, women being shirtless/braless in public is viewed as indecent exposure, with a large percentage of society insisting that any sort of nursing/breastfeeding be done in private or at home.
“I don’t know why I feel this way,” Wendy told Alyssa. “Breastfeeding is only a particular amount of time. The rest of your life, your breasts are sexual things.”
Williams argues that if she needed to breastfeed her child while out in public, she would simply do so in the privacy of her car. She only breastfed her son, Kevin Hunter Jr., who is now 15-years-old, for around two weeks. Milano, on the other hand, says she will happily “whip them out” in public in order to nurse her children.
The argument for supporting public breastfeeding
While many may agree with the above viewpoint, the argument in supporting of public nursing declares that the act itself is not “gross,” “indecent,” or wrong in any way, whatsoever. Supporters of this viewpoint may argue that women’s breasts are not sexual objects, but rather, they exist for the sole purpose of nursing young offspring. Whether or not a woman’s breasts may become sexual or be included in their physical intimacy with a partner is beside the point.
This fact is specifically pointed out when Milano tells Williams, “Biologically they’re not made for sexual things, that’s what we’ve done to them.”
Alyssa Milano, in defense of mothers breastfeeding in public, previously told People, “I think that breastfeeding moms feel like what they do needs to be hidden, or not feel like they’re getting the appreciation that comes along with being a breastfeeding mom, and it meant something that someone was being vocal.”
Alyssa certainly got some vocal support from the audience. Before the topic of conversation switched to something else, Milano jokingly threatened to nurse live on the show.
“You’re lucky the baby is not here. I’d whip them out right here and feed her on your show,” the Charmed actress said with a laugh.
With that being said, it certainly was not a huge argument meant to be taken as a heated shouting match between two mothers. Both Wendy Williams and Alyssa Milano remained respectful, with Williams tweeting her thanks for the conversation on the show.
Even when Milano had begun sharing images of her nursing her 16-month-old daughter, Elizabella Dylan, she was still quite surprised by the criticism she received.
“It was kind of shocking that we were that sort of opinionated about something that’s supposed to be so incredibly natural,” she said. “I think that it just struck a chord and people ran with it.”
[Photo by Jason Carter Rinaldi/Getty Images for Lexus]